21 December 2016

Working Against the Clock: 3 Peices of Advice for New Entrepreneurs Who are Doing it on a Dime or Very Few Dimes

In your first year of business, you're working against the clock.

You're trying to make money before you run out of start up funds. I was lucky that I only had to be answerable to me so getting in a tight jam was easier than if I had a spouse to answer to. That comes with a different set of challenges and not ones that I am qualified to speak on.

Let's face it, for many of us, those start up funds often aren't dedicated funds; they may be existing lines of credit that were intended to be emergency funds or maybe they're funds that we are diverting from somewhere else.

For myself, any money I made in the early days needed to go right back into the business so that I could go after the bigger contracts.

The term "scraping by" often didn't begin to capture the full story of early startups.

Tick tock tick tock - there's a reason why many of us never get off the ground. Cash is King. As my mentor likes to say "money is like blood - run out of either and you're dead".

In spite of doing many things well in the early days, there were many brutal lessons. Here are 3 pieces of advice that I feel are GOLDEN when it comes to starting a business. Definitely advice that I wish I would have had mayself. Keep in mind that I'm speaking to a very specific client when I write - failing is not an option for you.

1. Don't Incorporate Early. Ignore this advice if you fall into a "high risk of being sued" category. Otherwise, read on. I'm speaking to the regular Jane or Joe who is out there trying to drum up a little bit of business. Tax returns for incorporated businesses are expensive. Your first task is to learn how to make money. I meet too many people who are incorporated and ready for that first set of tax returns but who not yet never made a solitary nickel. What's up with that? Seek the advice of many people before letting someone talk you into incorporating. If you're a sole proprietor and need your taxes done, do email me for help, peoplecantraining@gmail.com.

2. Don't spend big bucks on a fancy website like I did in the early days. Yep, I learned most of my lessons the hard way. I have a theory -  sometimes in order to bolster our own self esteem, we make purchases like an expensive suit, a fancy website etc....so that we can start to feel the part. I get the psychology behind it but I'm hoping that by raising awareness, you won't make the same mistakes. That false status will only get you so far. There are so many other ways that you can come into your own when it comes to being a business person. Try hanging out with successful business owners. Successful people love to chat about business. We have a huge skills gap when we are forced into business  - one that won't be filled by the optics of an expensive website. Check out my latest very functional and practical website here to find out more about what we do at PeopleCan Training.

3. Join Toastmasters. From a business perspective, it has amazing bang for the buck. Anyone in business can tell a new entrepreneur from a thousand paces - it could be that they talk too much about their resume. It could be that they have their business cards at the ready all the time even when they weren't asked for one. It takes time to develop trust and to really own the role of business owner. Toastmasters will give you a venue to practice speaking before you take it live. It offers you a network of people who will become friends - people who will become your ambassadors when you're an established business. They also offer an amazing service at an affordable price. Great bang for your buck.

BONUS: Here's a bonus nugget  - learn to respond succinctly to the question "What problem are you solving for your client?" with intelligence.

Get out there and get 'er done. Owning a business is a way to a better life.

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